Hoping to curb malnutrition deaths in India, the India Academy of Pediatricians (IAP) has decided to revise its guidelines on severe acute malnutrition.
The body had brought out the guidelines on severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2006. The revised guidelines are expected to be published next month, following which the Academy will begin training pediatricians.
“The incidence of malnutrition has not changed in the last 10 years and neither the number of deaths have gone down in India. However, increasing global scientific evidence has shown more effective ways of dealing with SAM and IAP felt that it needs to be incorporated in the Indian policies,” said Dr Samir Dalwai, national coordinator of the programme.
He was talking at the National Consultative Meet organised on formulation of new guidelines on SAM by IAP.
The revised guidelines will emphasise on the integrated management of each SAM child, to include both hospital treatment and community-based management. Thus each SAM child will be continuously tracked whether in hospital or in the community till he recovers. said Dr Deepak Ugra, President, IAP.
In the existing guidelines, treatment and community management are different activities.
Community-based management includes counseling the mother, screening children and appropriate diet given to the child by aanganwadi workers. As per the new approach, only if the child has severe life threatening condition, then he will be hospitalised. If not, he will be managed within the community.
Professor Michael Golden, who formulated the WHO guidelines on SAM, emphasised on the subject of nutrition in the Indian medical education curriculum and the importance of pre-service training for doctors and nurses handling such cases.